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Moderator Best Practices3:18 with Anya Mezak
If you’re the one running the usability study and asking participants questions, you’ll need to brush up on the moderation best practices.
Moderator techniques and best practices
- Form unbiased questions
- Avoid leading responses
- Make the participant feel comfortable
- Ask limited follow-up questions
- Observe diligently
- Encourage thinking aloud
- Use simple language
- Check in with observers
Now we'll be taking a closer look at moderated techniques and best practices. 0:00 Perhaps you noticed some of them in the last video. 0:04 1, Form unbiased questions. 0:07 Make sure to void biased questions throughout the study. 0:11 For example, when I asked about the Amazon's Choice label, I could have asked, 0:15 was the label helpful? 0:20 Or, did you click on a specific product because it had the Amazon choice label? 0:21 No, I simply asked, why did you click on the one that says Amazon Choice? 0:27 2, Avoid leading responses. 0:32 It is easy to get carried away and provide leading responses to the participants. 0:37 For example, when the participant paused after telling me what information 0:41 they were looking for on another page. 0:45 I could have said, that's a reasonable thing to look for, 0:46 or it makes sense that you'd want more information there. 0:50 Either of these would have shown a form of approval and 0:55 would have led them to seek more approval. 0:58 Instead I simply responded with, I understand now. 1:01 3, Make the participant feel comfortable. 1:06 A participant who's comfortable will be more honest and forthcoming in your study. 1:10 The journey to establishing rapport starts even before your first meeting. 1:15 Make sure all the communication leading up to the study is clear and consistent. 1:20 When the participant arrives, welcome them, shake hands, use a friendly tone. 1:25 The last part applies to both in person and remote testing. 1:31 4, Ask limited follow-up questions. 1:35 It's important to ask clarifying questions when you have them, 1:39 but don't force the issue. 1:43 Give the participants a chance to use your products naturally, and 1:45 maybe even forget you're there for a moment or two. 1:50 5, Observe diligently. 1:53 Notice everything. 1:56 Did they hesitate before selecting an option? 1:58 Did they give a heavy sigh [SOUND] when they landed on that new page? 2:01 Were they excited when they saw some feature pop up? 2:07 All of these subtle behaviors matter, just as much as whether 2:10 the participant was able to complete the task successfully. 2:15 6, Encourage thinking aloud. 2:19 We're not mind readers, and 2:21 we'll need the help of our participants to know what they're thinking. 2:23 Ask them to think aloud, and remind them, as needed, 2:27 during the extended moments of silence. 2:31 7, Use simple language. 2:33 All of your communication from e-mail to the in person dialogue 2:37 should be in simple language. 2:41 Avoid industry specific terms that might be familiar to you but 2:43 technical and possibility confusing to the other person. 2:47 8, Check in with observers. 2:51 Make sure to give the observers a chance to let you know the questions for 2:54 the participants. 2:57 This will both make sure that you cover all the important angles of the study 2:59 as well as keep the observers engaged. 3:03 Now that you're familiar with what makes for 3:06 great moderation, run a couple friends or colleagues through your study as practice. 3:08 And then you should be ready to start with a participant from your target audience. 3:13 Good luck. 3:17
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